focus on fertility: week 3.1

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts regarding my experiences working through the book Fully Fertile, by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller, and Jeanie Lee Bussell. For previous posts, click here.

So, the nutrition week. This is actually the first installment of my work through the nutrition week, because I fully intend to spend two weeks on it. And not just to avoid committing to extra sleep, which is the week that comes after it. Last week was the first, and it was the week I gave up pop. Specifically, I gave up my daily Diet Coke.

I thought this would be extremely hard. I thought I would lag mid-afternoon. I thought I would miss it. I actually really love the daily Diet Coke. But… I didn’t. I didn’t really mind at all.

At first, I switched it out for iced tea. I had this idea at a long, boring work lunch, where everyone at the table weirdly ordered iced tea. Seriously, there were seven men plus me, and they all one by one, ordered iced tea. What the hell, I thought, let’s make it eight. So I had this peach iced tea, with some genius iced-tea-cubes in it, so that it didn’t get watered down as it sat there melting on the first real spring day. Then, the next day at work, I filled a glass with ice, and another with hot water and made an extremely strong cup of tea, which I then dumped over the ice cubes once it had cooled a bit. And I really never looked back.


Iced Tea

(from flickr)

Because I’m a little behind on writing this, I am most of the way through the second nutrition week, so I will tell you that some days, the walk to the ice machine seemed too long, so I just drank plain old water. And that was actually fine too.

Coincidentally (or not, maybe), over the last two weeks I have also started getting up in the morning and getting more exercise. Here is the thing. Physically, I feel a lot better than I did three weeks ago. I have more energy, my mood is better, and I just feel vaguely better. I don’t know if it’s because I swapped out a drink composed almost exclusively of chemicals and artificial sweeteners for a drink composed of water and leaves (and no sugar, or equal, or sweet n low, or splenda, or any of that other fake-sugar crap — I drink my iced tea plain, like the Yankee that I am). Or maybe it’s the exercise. I don’t know. I just know that I feel better, and I’m sticking to it.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will add that I have not, and do not intend to, give up my morning cup-and-a-half of coffee with milk. In Fully Fertile, it advises giving up the morning caffeine because it can mask the symptoms of sleep deprivation. Which is EXACTLY WHY I DRINK IT. I have three kids and a super-crazy job. I am kind of sleep deprived. And while I agree that actually getting sleep is probably a healthier way to make it easy to get up in the morning, I like to also use coffee for that purpose. Plus I love the stuff. I like the smell, I like the taste, and I like the act of drinking it. So, the coffee is here to stay. Baby steps.

focus on fertility: week 2

This post is part of an ongoing series of posts regarding my experiences working through the book Fully Fertile, by Tami Quinn, Beth Heller, and Jeanie Lee Bussell. For previous posts, click here.

The second week of the Fully Fertile program focuses on the role Oriental Medicine (OM) plays in a fertility journey. This week’s exercise required a list of Qi-filling and Qi-draining actions in one’s life. In brief, this required a “pros and cons” style list, where I wrote down the activities in my life that add life energy, and those that drain it.

Here’s the thing. I didn’t do the list. I don’t need to make the list to know that there is an extreme Qi-drain in my life. I don’t get enough sleep. I work too much. Etc. I’m tired all. the. time. I am a 2000-billable-hours-a-year attorney with three kids, two houses, and a cat, whose spouse also happens to have an extremely demanding job. I don’t need a list to tell me I am burning through my life energy but quick. So I didn’t make the list. I thought it would just depress me.

But here’s what I DID do. I got a massage. My wife and I had a gift certificate from our birthday last May (we have the same birthday, just a *few* years apart), which we had never used. So I booked the couples massage. Then, I called back and upgraded it. One Saturday, when our kids were otherwise occupied, we walked to the train station and went into the city, where we then got the best massage of our lives. I am not telling you where it was, for fear of you flocking to this place and booking up all the weekend slots. But it was awesome.

After the massage, we walked around the city in the sunshine without our jackets on and ate Indian food. Then we stopped by my office, because I had the appointment with Dr. P coming up, and needed to get some stuff set for Monday. Yes, our relaxing day included an hour-long stop at my office. But it wasn’t too bad, and by the time we got home we were relaxed, and tired in a good way, for the first time in a very long time. We spent the day together, just BEing. It was just the dose of Qi I needed.

the brief, disappointing story of Dr. P

On Monday, my wife and I had our appointment with the reproductive endocrinologist. If we purchase our sperm and conduct our inseminations “under the direction of” a doctor, it’s mostly covered by our health insurance. However, in order to inseminate “under the direction of” a doctor, we first have to have a doctor. I received the referral from my regular gynecologist, whom I love, so I had high hopes for Dr. P. I made the appointment with Dr. P about 3 or 4 weeks ago. Because we don’t know what sperm banks Dr. P’s office works with, we have been waiting until this initial consultation appointment to begin really reviewing any donor profiles or whatnot. So the appointment was important to us, because it signalled the beginning of our search for our donor — which we now have just three months to complete.

It took us about a half an hour on Sunday night to fill out all the paperwork Dr. P’s office had sent to us. We showed up at 10:30, right on time, at Dr. P’s office, which was about 25 minutes away from our house. I handed in the paperwork, and we sat down to wait. My wife and I each pulled out a book and started reading.

Right around the time I noticed I was hungry, my wife looked up from her book. “It’s been 50 minutes. Maybe you should just go see what’s what.” No wonder I was hungry. It was approaching lunchtime. I walked up to the counter and asked if they had any sense how much longer we would have to wait.

“Well, have they taken your vitals yet?”

“No, we really haven’t done anything. Just waited. It’s been almost an hour.”

A few minutes later, my name was called. They took my blood pressure, temperature, and weighed me. Then they sent me back out into the waiting room. At 11:35, I looked at my wife and said, “If we aren’t called by 11:45, I think we should leave. An hour and 15 minutes is too long to wait. We can’t be doing this every time we come for an appointment.” We weren’t called.

At 11:45, I walked up to the receptionist. “Could you please refund my copay? We are going to go, we don’t want to wait anymore.”

The first receptionist looked at the second receptionist. “Do you know where Dr. P is? Is she with a patient?”

“No,” said the second receptionist. “She’s in her office with the door shut.”

“Wait just one minute,” said the first receptionist. “I’ll go get her.”

“That’s fine,” I said, “but we’re going to leave anyway. We don’t want to wait anymore.”

After the first receptionist went to the back, the second receptionist said, “She does this all the time.” I looked at my wife. My wife looked at me.

“This is our first appiontment,” I said finally.

“Really? Your consult? I can’t believe she’s made you wait this long for your consult.” Hm. Me either.

At 5 minutes to 12, Dr. P emerged from the back. We shook hands, and she said she could see us now. “Thank you,” I said, “but we’re not staying. We don’t think this is going to work for us. We want to see a doctor who has time for us.”

“I have time for you now,” Dr. P protested.

“Thank you, but I meant more generally. We want someone who has room to take us on. We’re really just waiting for our copay to be refunded.”

“I’m sorry, but other patients were late this morning, and it’s made me a little backed up.” Now, if Dr. P had said that she had a family emergency and had been on the phone for an hour, or that she had a patient emergency, or some other type of extenuating circumstances, I might have decided to go ahead and have the meeting. But I just do not believe that her patients between 9 am and 10:30 we so late that she was running 90 minutes behind schedule. And frankly, I have a problem with people who choose not to take responsibility for their own actions. I thought blaming it on other patients was a little bit underhanded. So I politely thanked her again, and signed the refund slip for my copay.

As we were getting our coats together, at noon, Dr. P called the patient who had been waiting after me — the 11 am appointment. But that person never responded, because it turns out they had walked out too.

I’m extremely disappointed that we have to now find another doctor, and get a new appointment, and sort out all the paperwork, and wait all over again, before we can get started. But I am extremely happy that we will not spend 90 minutes a month waiting for Dr. P to emerge from her office to see us. This is supposed to be a positive experience, and waiting for Dr. P was anything but.

And I really proud of myself that I held my head high when we walked out of Dr. P’s office, and, in fact, made it all the way into the parking lot before the tears of disappointment came.